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Old 09-27-2023, 01:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2019
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Please help me get my van running again - crank but no start

Hello all. I have a little bit of an issue that I'm trying to figure out. I have a 1994 Econoline 150 w/ a 5.0 efi. I ended up getting laid off during the covid lockdowns, and ended up having to take a job making quit a bit less while starting over in a new field. That lead to me only renewing the registration on my daily driver and the van sitting. I was starting the van and driving it around ever so often. The battery was getting old anyways and eventually went dead. I've kind of lost track of time, but I'd probably say it has sat somewhere between 6 to 9 months at this point. I never meant to let it sit that long, but it has. I just started messing with it, trying to get it running and on the road again. I attempted to jump the van off tonight, thinking it was just a dead battery. It is turning over but will not start, where do I start? I know your basic components are air, fuel, and spark but where should I start on diagnosing the problem? I just closed it all back up until I had a better plan of attack on how to diagnose and where to go from there.


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Old 09-27-2023, 05:11 AM   #2
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You might try fully charging the battery, making sure it still holds a charge, and if not, replacing. Maybe a little starting fluid?

Did you treat the gas at all?

Pull the air filter to make sure it is clear?
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:11 AM   #3
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You've got the right idea with air, fuel, and spark.

Air is almost never the culprit, in my experience. Pretty hard to starve the engine of air to the point where it won't even start.

Spark could be the culprit. Could be caused by a multitude of things. But to see if you are getting spark, you could buy a cheap spark plug tester like this:

Fuel has usually been the culprit with my experience with these vans. On one van I had the fuel pump seize up. When everything is working right, you should turn the key to the "on" position (but not past, which would cause the starter motor to start cranking the engine). When the key first moves to the "on" position, you should hear the fuel pump turn on (a whirring sound for a few seconds) which primes the fuel system. One day my van wouldn't start, and after some troubleshooting I realized I wasn't hearing the fuel pump turn on. Turns out my fuel pump was seized, and whacking the fuel tank with a rubber mallet was enough to break it free. You would want to replace that pump eventually.

I've also had the PCM go bad on two old fords (one econoline and one F150). There are plenty of services that offer refurbished PCMs at a reasonable cost. The symptom was very similar to the above - the fuel pump would not turn on when the key was switched to the "on" position.

Marret's suggestion above for using some starting fluid is good as well. If it starts running with the starting fluid, but then dies out, that tells you that the van CAN run with some fuel, but isn't getting the fuel it needs.

Also as Marret mentioned, check the battery. Pull it out and take it to an auto parts store. They will all test a battery for free.

Obviously this is not a totally inclusive list, but it should be a good starting place. Generally when troubleshooting things like this it helps to think logically step by step, instead of blindly replacing parts (e.g. someone on the internet says "my PCM went bad, so go replace that first"). Test one variable at a time to narrow down what the cause of the issue is.
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Old 09-27-2023, 10:40 PM   #4
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Another thing to check is corrosion on the spark plug wiring connectors. Also rodents like to chew on the insulation and build nests in air intakes and other places in the engine bay.
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Old 09-28-2023, 10:57 AM   #5
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Start with the basics. You know the battery is bad and the fuel is old.

I would replace the battery first thing, you stated it was old before it died.
A FI 5.0 should still run on year old fuel. It probably won't idle very well though.

A fresh battery and some flammable carb clean in the throttle body will tell you if the ignition is working or not. I try to avoid starting fluid whenever possible, it can damage things (and people).

I'd be surprised if that doesn't get it running. If not, fuel pressure and spark are the next checks.

Does it have dual tanks?
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Old 09-30-2023, 04:40 PM   #6
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Have someone else cycle the ignition key off and on and listen to the fuel tank for signs of fuel pump function.
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Old 10-01-2023, 05:05 PM   #7
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Any chance something built a nest in exhaust?? That's assuming it is turning over.
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